- Directed By: Mark Pellington
- Written By: Ehren Kruger
- Release Date: July 9, 1999
- Domestic Distributor: Sony (Screen Gems)
- Cast: Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Hope Davis
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $31 million||Financed by: Lakeshore Entertainment|
|Domestic Gross: $24,756,177||Overseas Gross: $16,311,134|
Ehren Kruger’s screenplay was purchased by Lakeshore Entertainment in 1996 and the budget for Arlington Road was $31 million, which was the company’s largest budget when development began. Lakeshore financed and began pre-sales to overseas distributors at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival in May. Pre-sales continued at the Mifed movie mart later in the year and concluded at the American Film Market in March 1998. Polygram acquired domestic rights and dated Arlington Road for January 15, 1999.
On May 22, 1998 it was announced that Universal’s parent company Seagram began the process of acquiring Polygram and the deal was finalized in December ’98. Before the Polygram merger was completed, they sent the trailer out to cinemas in October ’98 and incensed the filmmakers after the trailer spoiled the whole movie. It was expected that Seagram would fold Polygram into Universal and the deal gave Lakeshore pause that Arlington Road might get lost or dumped during the transition period. As the release date approached, Lakeshore was informed that the January date would not be met and the company began negotiations to repurchase the rights.
Universal agreed to let Arlington Road go and Lakeshore took the project over to Sony, which landed the domestic rights for a lower than expected $6 million. Sony set Arlington Road to go out through their newly formed theatrical division Screen Gems as the first feature release on May 14, 1999. The studio then pushed the date back to July 9, claiming they wanted to keep the picture away from Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which was opening the following weekend. The delay made Arlington Road the second release from Screen Gems (first out of the gate was John Sayles’ limited release Limbo), but the first wide bow for the new label.
The Sony trailer for Arlington Road mostly recycled the same footage from the Polygram version, which again irritated the filmmakers and producers. The cast and crew that were sent out for publicity were given strict talking points, as not to give away the movie’s twists, but it was Sony’s marketing department that gave everything away. Arlington Road received lukewarm reviews and bowed against American Pie. It pulled in a very disappointing $7,515,145 — placing #6 for the weekend led by American Pie. It declined 44.3% to $4,187,567 the following frame and had a modest 30% dip to $2,932,751 in its third session. The domestic run closed with a poor $24,756,177. Sony would see returned about $13.5M after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not cover P&A expenses. Since the studio picked up the rights for so cheap, they easily made it into the black after ancillary sales.
Arlington Road was mostly a non-performer for the distributors who picked up the rights and it stalled with a $16.3M offshore cume.